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January 5, 2012

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Some of the Most Popular iPhone Apps

There's An App For That

Scoroncocolo, Scoroncocolo Tech Pages, iPhone 4sWhat makes your smartphone smart are the apps that came pre-installed on it. But you can make your smartphone even smarter by downloading some really cool additional apps from Apple's App Store or Google's Android Market.

iPhone 4s apps

Let's Talk About Apps

Apple last month (December 2011) had 18 billion downloads total on its iOS App Store, and Google’s Android Market had 10 billion downloads.

Apps are, after all, just about the only things that transform your iPhone or your Android phone from an expensive cell phone into a pocket computer. The Apps that come pre-installed on your smart phone are for the most part very useful and fun to play around with. But what's really cool about owning a modern smart phone is the ability to add apps to our phones.

If you have an iPhone, an iPod and/or an iPad, you are probably very familiar with apps available from Apple's App Store. Apps are downloadable programs/applications (apps) that can be anything from a game like the so far all time most popular app ever- Angry Birds and a great little time-waster if there ever was one to apps that show you real-time weather conditions, forecasts and radar images of current weather events like Weather Bug.

Playing with game apps on your phone can become so absorbing that it could prove to be a problem. Just ask the Movie/TV star Alec Baldwin who last month was kicked off a plane preparing to depart from LA to New York because he wouldn't stop playing Words With Friends on his iPhone.

As of January 1, 20012, there are over 500,000 apps for the iPhone and iPad and over 300,000 for Android. The average smartphone user has 65 apps installed on his or her phone. With so many smartphone apps available, sorting out the best ones takes a little research. I've done some of that for you and the apps listed below are some of the best I've found.

I have placed a link to the Apple App Store or the Android Market for every app I talk about below. If you are reading this on a smartphone, those links will take you to the download page for the app being discussed. If, on the other hand, you are reading this on a desktop, laptop or tablet computer, you can still use the links I've provided to find out a great deal more about the app by reading about it on it's download page. I've tried to limit my recommendations to high quality apps that are offered free of any charge. Of course, all of the iOS apps listed below will work just as well on an iPad as an iPhone.

Unless explicitly so stated, all of the iPhone apps I've listed below are apps I have installed on my iPhone 4s and have tested extensively. I can't vouch for any Android apps but if there is an equivalent Android app available for any of the iOS apps I've discussed below, I've provided a link to it.

Find My Phone Is the Most Important App of All

iPhone 4s apps

Choose Your iPhone Apps Wisely

By far the most important app you could have on your phone is an app that can help you relocate your phone in the event it is misplaced or stolen. The Apple App Store Find My Phone App can do just that. In fact this app can help you locate a missing iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac

Recently, I posted an article called iPhone 4s Tips and Tricks in which I wrote: "If you misplace your iPhone 4s or it's stolen you can use the iPhone 4s built-in Find My Phone app to trace its whereabouts online. Or better yet, if your phone is stolen, the police can do this for you. But you need to make sure this feature is enabled on your iPhone 4s. To do so, on your iPhone 4s, go to Settings then iCloud and make sure that Find My Phone is turned on."

The Find My Phone app used to be a third-party app. But the Find My Phone app was thought to be so important by Apple that they automatically included it in all their iOS 5 devices of which iPhone 4s is one. If you have an older iPhone that isn't running iOS 5, I strongly suggest you download the Find My Phone app. Again, for iPhone 4s owners, you already have this app pre-installed. You just need to make sure that it's activated.

Not only can the Find My Phone app help you locate your iPhone or other iDevice on a map (see illustration above) it can also help you find your phone in the event that it has slipped behind a sofa cushion or has managed to crawl into the dirty clothes hamper. No matter if your iOS device with Find My Phone is stolen or misplaced, you can find it by going online using any PC, Apple or Android device to iCloud at Once on the site you log-on using your Apple id which is the same one you use to make iTune purchases. Once the page opens, click on the Find My Phone icon and you'll see almost exactly what is displayed in the above image. Then depending on the situation you can have the option to Play a Sound which you might want to do if you feel you've misplaced your phone somewhere nearby in which case your iphone will emit a high-pitched, constant sound until either you find it and unlock it runs out of juice. Or you could choose to Send a Message if you think you've inadvertently left your phone at Aunt Judy's house. You can also choose Remote Lock, which is self-explanatory or you could opt to Remote Wipe, which should only be done as a last resort. This would bring your iPhone back to the state it was in when you first brought it home and pulled it out of the box. If you choose this option, you might not be able to track your phone on a map any longer.

You might want to check this out before you get into a position to where you have to use it find your missing phone. Besides, it's kind of neat to log-in to iCloud and see your iPhone's location on a map.

And oh yes, there's a Find My Phone Android too. It will cost you a dollar but that's money very well spent if it can help you find your lost or stolen phone.

Another Android phone finder app is Find My Android which is a steal at only one dollar.

The iPhone 4s Pre-installed Apps

Some of the most awesome apps anyone has so far thought of creating are already on your iPhone. So before we begin searching for faraway treasures let's look for treasures we already have.

Naturally, I'm not going to waste your time and mine by writing about things that ought to be obvious to reasonably intelligent people. But here are some things about the iPhone's built-in, preinstalled apps that I believe are not all that intuitive at first glance.


iPhone 4s apps

I don't want to spill a lot of ink here on how to use this feature. Learning to use an iPhone calendar is not at all difficult. However, one thing I recently learned that you might find useful is that you can use any PC or Mac to edit your iPhone calendar. Just go to iCloud at and log on using your Apple id with the password you use to buy music on iTunes and you'll find that access to your iPhone Calendar is right there. Of course you'll need an iCloud account. If you don't already have one, on your iPhone tap Settings and look for iCloud.


iPhone 4s apps

It's cool to be able to assign individual people their own ring-tones. O.K. there's nothing new about that. But using the Contacts App in conjunction with Siri is very new. And a lot of people don't know this but you can easily edit your iPhone Contacts using any on-line device, PC or Mac, by logging onto iCloud at And oh by the way if you've been looking all over for your Contacts App on your new iPhone 4s, you'll find it bundled under Utilities.


iPhone 4s apps

A lot of iphone owners don't even know about this app and I think that's because, like the above mentioned Contacts App, the Voice Memos app is hidden inside a larger app folder called Utilities. Learning to use this app is simple. The button of the left of the VU meter is both PLAY and PAUSE. The button on the right ends the recording. I didn't know this until recently but you can start a recording on the Voice Memos app and while you're rambling on about your newest great idea, you can press the iPhone Home Button and go open your favorite weather app and then do a Web search or check with Facebook or even send up a Tweet on Twitter all while you are continuing to dictate your great idea into the iPhone Voice Memo app. In short, the iPhone Voice Memos app will keep on recording sound until you go back to the app and pause or stop it. And I think that's really cool!


iPhone 4s apps

No doubt the iPhone 4s cameras both front and back are awesome. Here's what I didn't know until recently. The lens on the back of the camera could easily get scratched so get a case for the phone so that the back of the phone is never allowed to come in contact with a hard surface. And here's something else I only recently found out - You can plug in the earbuds that came with your iPhone and use the + button on your earbuds or the volume up button on the side of the phone itself to snap a picture. Using the volume up button on your earbuds makes it easier to put yourself into a photo.

Music Apps for iPhones

music apps for iPhone 4s

Music Apps For Your iPhone for iOS is free. With the iPhone app for, you can take the popular online group-listening service on the road with you. The app, just like the Website version of, lets you join "listening rooms" or create your own "listening rooms" or do some virtual DJ-ing. You can vote songs up or down - Lame or Awesome. You can Chat inside the iOS app just like you can on its big brother browser version and share what you’re listening to on Facebook or Twitter. Go get iOS for your iPhone. You log-on to both the app version and the Website version of using your Facebook or Twitter ID. No for Android as of the date this piece posted.

I know I said this article was about all free apps. I lied. Get over it. Spotify for iOS will cost you $10 per month. However, you can download the app to your iPhone and try it for 48 hours for free. After that you can wrangle another thirty days of free use by jumping through some hoops in an email Spotify will send you. I can't vouch for this app because I don't have it on my phone but a lot of prominent people in the Tech industry say this it the best music app out there, as well it should be for $520 per year. Here's Spotify's iTunes Preview page if you want to look further into it. Android Spotify

Pandora for the iPhone is free. Good ol' Pandora. Don't you just love Pandora? I know I do. I don't feel like I need to explain anything about Pandora to you. Pandora personalized radio has been around forever and the iOS version of Pandora works just like its Web browser counterpart. Android Pandora has an iPhone app that works exactly like its browser counterpart. You can get it here and there's also a app. for Android phones.

Social Media Apps for iPhone

iPhone 4s

Facebook, Twitter and Google + Have Apps

Apple Maps Is a Really Cool App

Well, there's the iOS App for Facebook of course. I have a Facebook account and even check in on the site at least once a day but I don't have this app on my phone. Android Facebook

Google Plus is more to my liking and I do have the Google + iPhone app on my phone and I use it a lot and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys sharing stuff on Google Plus. Android Google +

Did you know that every post you put up on Twitter is Archived in the Library of Congress? That's right. Every tweet since Twitter's inception in March of 2006 is stored safely away by the United States Government and that includes all future tweets as well. Just thought you might want to know. Nevertheless, I do have the iOS Twitter app on my phone even though Tweets are things I'd rather read than write. Android Twitter

News Aggregation Apps

News Aggregation Apps

Remember Newspapers?

Flipboard lets you to create a beautifully designed digital magazine on your iPhone. It finds and imports links that your friends have shared on Facebook and Twitter as well as links from various media sources that you tell Flipboard that you are interested in and then Flipboard compiles all of the links into a beautiful magazine-like layout. Flipboard was voted App Of The Year for 2010 even though it only worked on the iPad. On December 7, 2011 Flipboard finally came to the iPhone. If you bagged a new iPhone for Christmas, this is the first app you want get. Flipboard for iPhone Flipboard is a free app available only for the iPhone and iPad for now. The word is that an Android version is in the works.

While Flipboard remains for now a strictly iOS app, Google has countered with something that in my opinion is just as cool as Flipboard called Google Currents. Currents is a Google app and that let's you know right away that it's going to be a quality piece of work. And it is a very high-quality, magazine-like news aggregator that allows you to pull in headline news from major publications from all over the world. This app's from Google so you know it's going to be free to use. Have you ever known Google to charge you for anything? Go look at Google Currents at the App Store or Google Currents at Android Market. This is one of those apps that you really have to have.

And then there's Zite. I love Zite and it's a free download. Zite is a smart app. It learns what you like to read and then starts serving up more of what it "knows" you want to see. Zite is another app that, like Flipboard, is brand new to the iPhone having only been born about a month ago although it's been available on iPad since March of last year. While Zite for the iPhone isn't the must have app that Flipboard is or Google Currents is, it's a great app to have if you want to keep up with the latest developments on a handful of subjects. There is no Zite for Android as of the date of this post.

And then for "hard news" meaning the latest breaking reports of calamitous world events I like the PBS app. PBS is, of course, America's own beloved Public Broadcasting Service. I use the PBS app a lot and I also use the BBC app. I also like the CNN app for quick access to late breaking news.

There's a PBS app for Android as well but it will cost you $6.59. There's an Android app for BBC that's free and and Android app for CNN that's also free to download.

Apps That Enhance Your Productivity

Dropbox iPhone App


Dropbox Is So Awesome It Almost Seems Magical

Almost exactly one year ago to this day I posted an article on this site in which I lauded the wonderfulness of Dropbox the file storage, syncing, sharing cloud company that was an immediate hit at it's inception and remains the best at what it does to this day. Dropbox was the first company to accommodate a particular and almost universal need which was: "I don't need to backup everything on my computer just these important files and oh yes, I want them changeable and accessible on any computer anywhere in the world." If you have a Dropbox account, you really need the Dropbox iPhone app because having the ability to access Dropbox on your iPhone makes Dropbox even more awesome than it already is. And there is a Dropbox App for Android phones as well.

Evernote iPhone App

In November of last year, I posted a piece called Smart Phone Voice Recognition Is the Future in which I talked about Evernote. I wrote about how with the iPhone 4s we can now use Siri in conjunction with advanced cloud programs like Evernote to do some serious voice-activated note taking. Go have a look at that post if you want to see what a fantastic free service Evernote really is. Dropbox and Evernote have one thing in common that is beginning to define what we will very soon expect all cloud-related applications to have and that is that it works seamlessly with all of our devices. Evernote is one of those things that once you discover it you'll wonder how you ever managed to get along without it. Go learn more about the Evernote for iPhone app and maybe you'll learn to love Evernote as much as I do. Here's a link to the Android Evernote app.

SkyDrive iPhone App

Then last but not least, there's the SkyDrive for iPhone app that will give your iPhone access to all of your SkyDrive files. Having this app is almost like adding 25 gigabites of storage to your phone. I wrote about Windows SkyDrive back in December of 2008. If you use Hotmail, Messenger or Xbox LIVE, you already have a Microsoft SkyDrive account. The SkyDrive account is free and the iPhone app that makes the account accessible to your iPhone is free. There's no better price that that. Here is the Bolero Android SkyDrive Browser.

And finally, as a reward for having slogged through this rather lengthy blog-post, here's a little iPhone, iPad and Android app widget to play around with.

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